23 7 / 2014

What if they steal my idea?

Blogpost by: Daniela Monteiro - Co-Founder of Startup Pirates

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One of the first questions we get from people interested in participating in Startup Pirates or actual participants is the one in the title: “What if people steal my idea?”

People hold strongly to their ideas. They feel they have the ultimate thing and that the moment they talk about it, someone will come and take it. It’s legitimate to have this fear, competition is real and we need to be aware of it. But if you’re not on the point of putting your idea out there, you’re not ready to turn it into a reality.

Ideas need to be worked to comply with what customers want. If you don’t share them, you’ll never be able to pivot your assumptions as soon as possible. Mark Cuban once said, “Everybody’s got a new app for their phone. Ideas are a dime a dozen. But it’s turning it into a real company and then taking that company and then actually making it a profitable, growing endeavor that can support an investor.”

Ideas are worthless when you’re not able to execute them. Having the right people, the right skills, tools and the focus will make you faster and beat competition. But be aware that hard work without a solid vision is as useless as not being able to put everything together.

Most of the ideas that go through our programs don’t end the same way they were in the beginning. It’s the result of a week of customer validation and mentoring. That’s the beauty of sharing and learning: you have the opportunity to improve your idea. How can you do that if you’re scared?

Blogpost by: Daniela Monteiro - Co-Founder of Startup Pirates

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17 7 / 2014

Avast for Bem Valente!

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Last year at Startup Pirates @ Curitiba, Diogo Beltrami and his tem won the program with his idea, Bem Valente. Let’s know more about this really inspiring social idea.

Who are the people behind Bem Valente?

"Diogo Beltrami (Product Designer | Right on the photo) and Marcelo Grassano (Automation Engineer  | Left on the photo), now both business and code developers. We met at Startup Pirates Curitiba but curiously we were in different teams."

Can you tell us a bit more about your project? What are you doing?

"The fight against cancer is not easy, there are a number of difficulties caused by the treatment, which in many cases is intense and aggressive. It’s a disease that weakens not only the physical but also the psychological aspect as well, motivation and self-esteem are significant factors to overcome. So we started Bem Valente to provide special and unique moments of well-being for cancer patients through a sustainable business model.

Bem Valente offers a unique way for you to fulfill dreams and contribute to the fight against cancer. You can buy products and services at the same market prices to fund dreams without paying more and without the need for donations.

Everyone wins:

  • Patients and their families live special moments of motivation and well-being. 
  • Dream Makers receive their products and provide the attainment of these unique and special moments through their purchases. 
  • Our partners and institutions are benefited financially from sales.”

How have these past months been since Startup Pirates? What are the biggest challenges that you faced until now? And accomplishments? Next moves?

"We faced many challenges and learned a lot since Startup Pirates Curitiba. We also won another competition: Souper Heroes organized by Impact Hub Curitiba during the Global Entrepreneurship Week. The biggest challenge we’ve faced with Bem Valente is how social entrepreneurship is misunderstood for most people in Brazil. There is a gap between making good and making money. 

Our next move is to improve our revenue streams.”

What would you say to a person who has a business idea and wants to turn it into reality?

"The best moment is now, keep dreaming while you’re going for it! We quit our former jobs to pursue this dream and we’re living an amazing experience. But the best way to describe my feeling while working on this project is the testimony of Helen during her dream realization. She looked at us and said, almost whispering, while walking between a toboggan and another: "This is the best day of my life!". And this is the best time of our lives.”

Follow Bem Valente: Website | Facebook

Photo Credit: www.gazetadopovo.com.br

 

14 7 / 2014

5 Entrepreneurship books I’m going to read this Summer

Blogpost by: Inês Santos Silva - Co-Founder of Startup Pirates

Want to make the most of your upcoming summer holidays? I’ve selected 5 books I’m reading this summer and that you should also considering reading.

1. Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of Salesforce.com

2. Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

3. The Lean Enterprise: How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups

4. Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinking

5. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Want more suggestions? Take a look at this article that I published last year about “6 books all entrepreneurs should read“. Enjoy!!

 

Blogpost by: Inês Santos Silva - Co-Founder of Startup Pirates

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09 7 / 2014

Live Chat Benefits for E-Commerce Startups

Blogpost by: Marta Wadsworth - Marketing at Userlike, Startup Pirates Perk Partner

As Startup Pirates announced recently, Userlike offers all their startups a one year free account of their live chat software. Being a bootstrapped company ourselves, we know that starting businesses cannot afford to pay for all the tools they need and can use a little push. In this post we wanted to give you some points on how you can use live chat to improve your business.

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First of all, the main reasons why we decided to offer our live chat software to startups is because they have always been one of our most enthusiastic users. They easily adopt innovative solutions, have always provided us with strong feedback, and they are a role model in society. 

Live chat can bring you closer to your users and web visitors. Let’s take a look at some ways you can use it to improve your business:

  • Get Direct and Unfiltered Feedback from your users

Startups operations should be focused on the finetuning of their products. This process requires relevant feedback from early users. Live chat is a perfect way to get that direct feedback in a natural way. While using the product, users or website visitors can ask questions and give you feedback. If you end up receiving many questions about a certain topic this will indicate you should clarify that subject.

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There are various factors that make live chat systems work better than other feedback tools. First there is a more natural tone of voice and a less informal communication style that allows users to share in greater detail their real experiences and thoughts. Secondly, instead of helping you out of altruism (as is the case with standard feedback tools), feedback through support requests is driven by self-interest. Finally, as live chat is a low barrier tool, users may actually contact you at the same moment they are having an issue, with no need to stop using the product altogether to be able to report a problem.

  • Create Loyal Users / Brand Advocates / Brand fans

Your early users are the ones you will need to devote extra attention to. Not only because they can support you in finetuning, but also because they are the ones which will be referring your product or service to others. Live chat offers you the tool to reach out to all of your early users and visitors. Spend some extra time with them to turn them into enthusiastic brand advocates.

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  • Increase conversion rates 

A huge percentage of your website visitors leave your page before making a final transaction or signing up just because they couldn’t find the answer to some simple question. It could be related to the product, to your check-out process or even to the shipping time: what matters is that by not being able to respond, at that moment, you just lost a conversion.

Use your live chat software for direct conversion optimization and to collect insights about what processes should be improved.

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  • Support Channels Comparison

Overall there are three major advantages of using live chat as customer support channel in comparison with the standard phone and e-mail channels.  

Firstly, live chat is a low-barrier channel. The barrier of phone usage consists out of general phone-fear and bad experiences with waiting queues. The barrier of email usage consists out of uncertainty of when they will receive a response. Live chat has neither of these barriers, and combines the best of both worlds.

Second, live chat is an “on-the-spot” support channel, implemented on your website, meaning that users won’t have to go anywhere else or use any external device. This ensures one the one hand that the ‘conversion process’ is not disrupted, and on the other hand that issues can be resolved on the spot, making things a lot easier for everybody.

Considerations when implementing live chat:

The one obstacle to live chat is having someone to handle the chats. However, live chat is an activity which can easily be combined with many other tasks. You can go online when you have time and there are features you can use when you are not behind your computer. For example, you can set your chat system to show an offline notification together with a simple form to collect your visitor’s messages and contact details when you are offline, or you can simply hide the chat button. Next to this it is possible to connect Userlike to your smart phone in order to support your customers on-the-go.

We hope this gave you some insight into how you can use live chat. We hope to see you on the chat soon!

Blogpost by: Marta Wadsworth - Marketing at UserlikeStartup Pirates Perk Partner

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07 7 / 2014

A word from Startup Pirates @ Maringá

Message from: Renan Freitas - Lead organizer at Startup Pirates @ Maringá

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Hi everyone, I write from Maringá, Brazil. We conducted a Startup Pirates program here from April 26 to May 03.

First of all, let me explain about Maringá: it is city from the interior, with population of almost 400 thousand people, an agribusiness based economy, a strong IT sector focused on ERP technology and still few startups based here. But we have politicians aware of the need of innovation and technology.

Since here few people are engaged with this entrepreneurship purpose, we started working to build a startup ecosystem since last year to motivate and promote an easier way to create new startups. The biggest challenge - and our vision to the future - is to transform our town in a startup reference for brazilian entrepreneurs.

In the beginning of this year, our partner SEBRAE (a non profit organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship and helping business growth) gave us the responsibility to organize a Startup Pirates here, to mobilize entrepreneurs to build new startups. It was the second edition of the program in Brazil.

For me, especially, was an awesome experience to be part of the organization team. I must admit, for the most part of the time, I wished to be part of the participants to experience all of that.

This feeling is part of my admiration to the Pirates, that transformed our ecosystem and gave us a new look about startups.

There were some unexpected experiences and learnings that we carry on forever. Maybe this is not news for you, but like the famous sentence, “old but gold”, I must tell them here to share our learnings:

  • People are everything in a startup! Just forget the brilliant idea for a moment and pick up the right partners. If you choose the wrong person to be your partner, everything goes wrong. At the program, it was explicit and some teams just broke up because people thoughts didn’t match. On the other hand, teams with poor ideas in the beginning, but with powerful people, just pivoted and finished the program with awesome ideas.

  • If people is everything, put them to validate their ideas with focus on customer behavior. They just pivoted because they focused their work on people, understanding exactly what they expect and what they will buy.

  • The transformation that Startup Pirates program provides goes beyond the room. It transforms the whole ecosystem with new startups, new engaged entrepreneurs, new mentors and new experiences. After the program, we had an exponential growth on engagement of people with the ecosystem.

  • Engagement makes the difference. If you have the right people, then engage them with a purpose and you will have big results, like pirates. Picking up the right mentors to build the first part of the program makes the whole difference.

  • And at last, but not least, the program doesn’t finish in the end of the week. It’s important to follow up the teams to make the projects happen and to support them with new events, new opportunities and more interesting content. It’s part of the motivation too.

I must admit, it wasn’t easy to organize the whole Startup Pirates. Even with a team supporting us, we had to work hard and dedicated a lot of time of our days to make it happen. But after that, the learnings and experiences organizing, mentoring and meeting new people rewarded everything.

Thank you Rafael Pires and team for the opportunity to bring Startup Pirates to Brazil, the program causes large changes in people’s lives.

Message by: Renan Freitas - Lead organizer at Startup Pirates @ Maringá

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05 7 / 2014

Crazy Pirate Give Away - Winners of T-shirt Day!

First of all we would like to kindly thank all of you for celebrating our 3rd birthday with us!

When a true Pirate arrives he or she demands to be noticed. We designed this t-shirt specially for this giveaway and 5 buccaneers will be able to pick their favorite color and size. Now, the wait is over… and the winners are:

  • Anaël Unchained from France
  • Karolina Zarychta from Poland
  • Oana Calugar from Romania
  • Renan Freitas from Brazil
  • Jasper Goyvaerts from Belgium

You are listed above? Congratulations! We are looking forward to seeing pictures of you wearing them all the time. Well, maybe it’s better if you wash them once in a while. Expect an e-mail from us on how to get them.

You were not one of the lucky winners in our give away? Don’t worry, we’ll probably give more things away soon! Stay tuned to our facebook and twitter!

Here we go for another great year… Aaaarrrrr!!!!!